Loss drove Howie into Lucia's arms, and Love's spell was deeply upon him. And so time passes...
True, there were occasional tribulations but nothing that would indicate that Lucia didn't feel for Howie as he felt for her.
Howie came to realize Lucia was a free spirit and needed her space from time to time. Besides, she'd given him a wonderful daughter; why should he complain?
But love not reciprocated is cruelty incarnate, as Howie soon was to learn.
And the cruelty continued unabated for several months as Lucia's heartless nature, once masked by Love's spell, revealed itself starkly.
Still, there was a brightness in his life that Lucia's callous mockery would never wipe out. Filled with joy and hope for the future, Howie went out and got the biggest bunny he could find for Madison's first Easter without her mother.
She was delighted.